By Kathalyn Gaither
More than 3,300 acres of beautiful uplands, multiple biking and hiking trails; a full-facility, primitive and youth campgrounds; ample canoeing and kayaking opportunities and a newly renovated half-acre swimming pool. That, and much, much, more is what await visitors who wish to spend some quality time outdoors in central Florida.
Hillsborough River State Park offers guests a bit of old-time Florida, from the natural wooded communities to the old buildings and pavilions built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-1930s. The Hillsborough River Bridge, also built by the CCC, is a prominent feature of the park, spanning across the river. Freshwater anglers can test their skills in the river, which is plentiful with bass, bream and catfish.
A replica of Fort Foster – an 1837 fort from the Second Seminole War – is located within the park and ranger-led tours are offered every Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.
Cypress swamps, pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks comprise the forested woodlands that provide habitat for a variety of wildlife common to the area, including bobcats, deer, gopher tortoises, woodpeckers and owls.
Hikers have four trail options which include a small portion of the 1,400-mile Florida National Scenic Trail. The national trail begins in the Florida panhandle, extends east, then turns south winding through central Florida and ending at Big Cypress National Preserve.
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